It hadn’t really been an issue of if Wake would receive a lucrative extension; it was more of a question of when. The Pro Bowl outside linebacker, who arrived from the CFL in 2008, had undeniably outperformed his first and only NFL contract, one that was paying Wake far below market value. As negotiations slowly progressed, Wake wasn’t discouraged because he felt he had handled his situation properly and had a strong desire to stay in Miami.
“You rest on your reputation, and the man and the person you have become,” Wake said. “It showed everybody here. At the end of the day, it paid off.”
To say that all of Wake’s success has been built off of slights–both real and imagined–is probably a bit simplistic. Obviously it’s taken a special blend of determination and ability for him to become a star. There’s no doubt, though, that he has reached the pinnacle by taking a circuitous path, keeping his competitive fire constantly burning.
“Hearing those little voices in your head, people laughing at you when you tell them I’m going to be in the NFL, that’s always been with me,” Wake said. “That’s always made me strive to do better, to do more and have that humble desire to be in this building. Some guys may take it for granted, but I know what it’s like to sit on the couch and watch football games. I know what it’s like to be cut.”
Prior to the beginning of the organized team workouts, Wake had a chance to meet with Joe Philbin and Kevin Coyle. Even with his contract uncertainty lingering, he wanted to get a sense of what the new staff was like. He came away impressed and ready
“So far, so good. Both of those guys are obviously great football minds,” Wake said. “I’m looking forward to a very, very, very productive 2012, and all the indications so far is is that it’s going to be that.”
Though he’s been playing at an All-Pro level for the past few seasons, Wake’s new contract is validation that, yes, he’s one of the league’s feared pass rushers. If you had told him this was his fate when he was struggling to make it after leaving Penn State, he’d probably tell you that you were crazy.
“Have you checked into rehab? You might want to go see somebody,” Wake said. “Literally, it gives me goosebumps. If you would have told me I’d be an All-Pro outside linebacker in the NFL, I didn’t even play football until I was 18, I’d (say) there’s no way.”
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